The bigger question many ask is this, “If God was such a good God, why would he allow bad things to happen to good people?” It’s easy to see the brokenness of the world around us and be overwhelmed. That inner sense of right and wrong given to us by our Creator screams for justice. It’s natural for us to wonder why God doesn’t put a stop to it. Is he cruel? Does he care? Is he powerless? Does he care?
Jesus gives us a clue to answer in a story about weeds. It’s a long passage, but well worth the read:
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” Matthew 13:24-30
Jesus goes on to explain the illustration to his disciples, and in the explanation we discover why God allows evil to fester in the world:
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. Matthew 13:37-41
Here’s the truth: the weeds represent everything that causes sin and all who do evil (verse 41). So, why would a good God allow evil to flourish? Look back at verse 29. Because the weeds (sin) and the wheat (humanity) are so intermixed, that to destroy one, he’d have to destroy the other.
The mistake we make is to think that evil is something separate from us, something easily wiped away if God would only do it. The reality is something darker. When sin entered the world, it infected all of creation, including humanity. We’re now fused together. So, here’s why evil exists: God allows evil to exist because to destroy evil He would have to destroy humanity.
Does God hate sin? Yes. Does God love humanity? Yes. So, he allows humanity to exist a little while longer, even with the scourge of sin, out of love, to give us a chance to repent. There will be a day when sin is destroyed, when God comes to judge the world. Until then, evil will exist.
QUESTION: Does this interpretation help your understanding of the problem of evil?